DETROIT (WXYZ) — A Detroit man is being investigated after one of his dogs is found dead and two others found nearly dead and starving in his home on the city's west side, said Kelley LaBonty who heads up the nonprofit Detroit Animal Welfare Group (DAWG).
"Hopefully he'll be prosecuted for the death of this animal," said LaBonty, who was contacted late Saturday night to help the emaciated dogs and fight for justice for them and Dakota.
The female puppy was found dead and frozen in a bathroom at the house where there is no electricity or heat. The dogs were discovered earlier Saturday by the ex-girlfriend of the man who owns the dogs.
She tells 7 Action News that she moved out in late December after he allegedly kicked her in her stomach. She's five months pregnant with his child and said he's been vicious in his attacks on her and the dogs. She also admits to being too afraid to call police to report any of the abuse.
The woman spoke to 7 Action News on the condition that we would not identify her.
"I was scared for my life," she said. "Every time I said something to him about doing something to the dogs, he either hit me or cussed me out (and) went crazy."
Shortly after she moved out, the woman said her ex-boyfriend told her via Facebook that he was planning on turning himself in to serve a six-month jail sentence on a case.
She asked what was happening with his three dogs and his cat. First, she said he told her that they were going to shelters and homes he found for them, but then he later said that a friend was going to take care of them.
The woman went to the house Saturday for the first time since moving out in December. She said she looked through the glass with a flashlight and two of the three dogs came running to the window. She went into the house and found the man's female puppy, Dakota, dead in the bathroom. The man's cat could not be found.
The woman's mother contacted LaBonty who met them at the house to get emergency care for the two surviving dogs that were freezing in the house without heat and no fat left on their bodies.
The female dog is named Lola. We're told the man never bothered to name his male dog. LaBonty has now named him Oscar, and both dogs are being treated by Dr. Barton Meadows at Animal Hospital of Lakeport in Fort Gratiot Township.
LaBonty believes the male dog, that had to be carried out of the house because he was so weak, may have only been able to survive another day without emergency intervention.
Court records show the owner of the dogs has been arrested for home invasion, larceny and assault.
And in 2014, in the case in which he was charged with assault, he was also charged with abandoning and cruelty to one animal. It appears all charges were dropped when the victim failed to appear in court.
Today, LaBonty said she met with investigators in hopes that the man will face cruelty charges that won't go away this time.
"It's absolutely heartbreaking that these animals could have been saved if someone had called sooner," LaBonty said.
If you'd like to make a donation to the medical care of Oscar and Lola, you can click here to visit the homepage for DAWG.